Zeneba Abdul

Ethiopia Prosopis juliflora

“It’s like HIV for the environment” is how Zeneba Abdul described Prosopis, which is leading to reduced herd size, deteriorating arable land and social tensions in her community in Eastern Ethiopia.

Zeneba Abdul
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When asked about the impact on her community of Dergi Hara, or “weed of the Derg” in the Afar language, Zeneba becomes really animated. Having listed the injuries the thorns cause her livestock she then describes the human toll. 

“The dense thickets make communication between individuals very difficult as the roads are obstructed and dangerous. The animals are no longer producing milk so my children can no longer enjoy that. Dergi Hara has caused conflict between charcoal producers who want access to the trees and we have to travel to another community to access pasture.”

“All in all", she concludes, "it’s like HIV for the environment.”


  • Loss of indigenous grass and tree species
  • Limb injuries and impairments to humans and livestock
  • Blindness of livestock
  • Costs of clearance (up to 1,000 birr/ half hectare)
  • Loss of roads
  • Loss of water holes (6 in her village)
  • Malnutrition and blindness (20 people in her village)
  • Migration into the village from rural areas causing tensions
Prosopis infestation in Ethiopia Prosopis infestation in Ethiopia

Affected by:

Prosopis Preferred Scientific Name: Prosopis juliflora

Prosopis is an incredibly aggressive invasive species which invades a wide range of habitats.


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